From Alexander McQueen to Gareth Pugh, the runways have always been flush with rebellious bad boys who pull the rug out from under the status quo. But the sunglass set? Not so much. Frenchman Thierry Lasry is hell-bent on breaking that mold.
Lasry, 32, is as close to a rock star persona as this market gets. A scruffy mug offsets piercing blue eyes. His hands, which pull out one pair of sunglasses after another, are covered in punky Chrome Hearts rings. His own designs, which he dubs “futuristic vintage,” are equally brazen. “Stop me if it’s too much for your eyes,” he jokes.
Indeed, Thierry Lasry sunglasses are not for the timid. Consider the pirate-inspired series, in which one lens is completely embedded with tiny Swarovski crystals, like a blinged-out eye patch. Even the more commercial pieces push the eyewear envelope. They’re candy-colored and patterned, in tartan, stripes or mesmerizing inky flecks. That puckish attitude continues with the absurdly cheeky names he gives his designs, such as Pimpy and Amfetamy. (They all end in y. Just like “Thierry.” And “Lasry.”)
“Sometimes there’s a real reason [for the name],” he says. “Seducty I thought was very glamorous, sexy. And sometimes, it’s all in my head.” Blasonny, for example, is a nod to Louis Vuitton’s Blason fine jewelry collection, done with Pharrell Williams. Other explanations prove more titillating. “[The shape] is very round,” Lasry says of Undressy. “I was thinking of two…of a shirt getting opened.” But his line isn’t without its more practical elements, too. For instance, all of his frames are flat, allowing for prescription lenses.
Given Lasry’s background, it’s no surprise that he can easily meld fashion and function. His father is an optician; his mother was an accessories designer. He got his start in the industry in 2002 with the relaunch of his dad’s optical line, which Lasry continues to design today. Next up: Lasry 77:82, a jewelry collection designed with his brother, French pop singer Léonard Lasry, who has an album coming out in September. (The numbers in the moniker represent their birth years.) The baubles incorporate the same patterned acetates he employs in his eyewear. “I wanted to showcase the materials in a better way,” Lasry says of the jewels. “Typically, acetate is worked in layers. I developed another style—everything’s mixed and smashed in a certain way.”
With more than 200 retail venues, including Colette in Paris, Harvey Nichols in Hong Kong and Ilori in New York, Lasry is building street cred to match his creativity. He has done a handful of collaborations as well, the most high-profile of which are with French label Emmanuelle Khanh and with Liquid Architecture, a band cofounded by Jérôme Sans, former director of Paris’s Palais de Tokyo museum. Last year, when the Institut Français de la Mode expanded into eyewear design, the school tapped Lasry as its industry consultant to the students. Asked why, of all the designers in the world, the institution that counts Pierre Bergé as president and Didier Grumbach as dean chose him as its eyewear ambassador, Lasry shrugs. “I’m young, I’m in Paris. I’m selling sunglasses with a fashion message,” he muses. “Let’s take some risks and create excitement.”
Styled by Brooke Magnaghi; Portrait: Wendelin Spiess